15 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts and Activities

Mother’s Day will soon be here!

The good news is that the nature of Mother’s Day isn’t about buying expensive trinkets or wowing Mom with an over the top production.

Mother’s Day is about family and togetherness.

These ideas are just a few of the many ways you can show Mom you love her without blowing the budget.

Free Things to do for Mother’s Day

1. Take a Family Outing

One of the best things about Mother’s Day is timing. Mother’s Day is a spring holiday and always falls on a Sunday, which means the weather is gorgeous and you don’t have to worry about rushing home from work to spend time together as a family.

One of my favorite family activities is going on a nice picnic or an outing at the park. We have a beautiful arboretum near our home that has free admission.

The flowers are blooming, the little ducks are swimming in the pond and the families are walking together and enjoying the season. Sounds like a recipe for a great family outing!

2. Make Mom a Coupon Book

Most mothers share a common denominator – they are the glue that holds the household together. And that also means they have lot of stress from taking care of everyone and everything.

Make Mom a coupon book with coupons she can use any time she needs a break. Coupon ideas include cooking, cleaning, massages, chores, taking her to dinner, date night, or taking care of some of the items on the “honey-do” list.

Coupon books are great for involving children too. Let them suggest some ideas for “coupons” they think their mother might enjoy.

3. Cook Mom’s Favorite Dinner

Spring is the perfect time to have a BBQ or have a nice home-cooked meal out on the patio. Cook Mom’s favorite dinner and be sure to include lots of fresh spring veggies from the local farmer’s market.

Top off the meal with Mom’s favorite dessert (just don’t let Mom make it!).

4. Make it a Movie Night

Gather the family around the living room and watch Mom’s favorite movie. Pop some fresh popcorn on the stove, make a pitcher of grape Kool-Aid and pop in a family movie. (OK, the popcorn and grape Kool-Aid are my Mom’s favorite, be sure to customize the snacks!).

If you don’t have a copy of Mom’s favorite movie then you can save money by borrowing it from the library, or taking advantage of this Netflix free trial offer.

5. Family Game Night

Get the family together in the living room or kitchen table and play cards or board games. You can top it off with homemade pizza, snacks, or a giant ice cream sundae.

A couple of our favorite games are Sleeping Queens, Sushi Go, or Hedbanz with young kids. If all the kids in the family are adults now try Telestrations.

6. Offer Up Some Peace and Quiet

Most Moms I know would love to just have some quiet, alone time to do some things for her. Give Mom this time.

She might not want to take it on Mothers Day, but make sure you schedule some time for her to getaway.

7. Clean/Repair/Improve the House

Mom’s usually handle most of the cleaning duties, so give her a break for a few days by cleaning the house. Involve the kids and get the house spic and span. Do this while Mom is out enjoying some quiet time or whatever it is she wants to be doing.

If there are some home repairs or improvement projects you’ve been putting off, use this time to get those done for her. Don’t have any? Surprise her with an inexpensive project like painting a room.

Cheap Mothers Day Gifts That are Still Thoughtful

8. New Pictures of her Kids/Grandkids

Surprise Mom with a few new photos of the kids and/or grandkids. This doesn’t have to be anything professional.

Although, it would be nice if you attempted to make them look nice. Grab a new frame for your new photos as an extra surprise.

9. Candles, Lotions, and Soaps

Moms like to smell good and clean. This gift category is usually pretty inexpensive and Mom’s always running out (i.e. it will certainly be appreciated and used).

Bath salts are a nice treat along with a relaxing candle.

10. Bouquet of Flowers

This is the classic Mothers Day gift and rightfully so. You can find moderately priced bouquets at your local market, or you can venture out to find some nice wildflowers of your own.

Either way, Mom will appreciate this gift that will brighten her day.

11. Kindle or iPad, Plus a Tutorial

Your Mom might be itching to start reading more, but if she’s a bit older the technology of the Kindle and other readers might be intimidating.

This is where you come in. Don’t just buy her a Kindle. Make plans to spend time with your Mom to help her make the most of the technology and use it properly. Your Mom will appreciate the help and the time spent together.

12. Bring New Life To Her Old Photos and Videos

This is a project many Moms would love to take on, but again, the technological aspect may be holding her back.

With a nice scanner (or the use of a service provider) you can digitize Mom’s old photo albums. Do the same with her old home movies so she can enjoy them from her laptop or at least a DVD player.

13. Manicure, Pedicure, or Massage

Moms like pampering and they deserve it. Treat the Mom in your life to a little R&R and buy her a gift certificate to a salon for one of these services.

These are great gifts because they are consumable. Moms with shelved full of gifts will appreciate this clutter-free gift idea. And again, if you want to add a bonus to the gift, make plans to do the salon trip with Mom.

14. Vacuums, Sewing Machines, and Appliances Only if Asked

Don’t automatically throw out these gift ideas just because you think it might offend Mom. Ask her what she wants/needs for Mother’s Day.

If she asks for a new vacuum cleaner, jump at the chance to buy her a really nice one that will make her life easier. Just don’t tell her when to use it.

15. Gift Card is Better than Nothing

If you’ve waited too late to mail something on time, a gift card from Amazon.com (emailed) can be better than nothing at all.

Call Mom up and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, then tell her you sent over an email with her gift card attached. She’ll be thankful for the conversation and the online shopping spree afterward.

3 Bonus Gift Ideas

1. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker – This is a great gift for moms who enjoy a cup of joe every morning. If the cost is too steep, you can always split it with your siblings.

2. FTD Flowers and Plants – If flowers are your go-to gift for your mom, consider signing up for ebates to get this great deal with FTD. You get 20% cashback on top of all the sales and deals FTD has going on for Mother’s Day.

3. York Photo Mug – If you have little ones, this is a good gift idea for them to give on Mother’s Day. It is a coffee mug personalized with a photo, and you only have to pay shipping! If it’s your first time to use York Photo you can also get 40 free prints.

Final Thoughts on Mother’s Day Activities and Gifts

Showing Mom you care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, she will probably remember and appreciate the “together time” provided by free things to do on Mother’s Day much more than any trinket you buy.

What are you getting Mom or what things will you do for Mother’s Day? If you’re a Mom, what were your favorite gifts received through the years?

Similar Posts


  1. Every Mother’s Day, we normally give our mom a bouquet of fresh flowers and cake. This year, though there will still be cake and flower, we will also give her a framed picture of the whole family, including our kids and husbands. 

  2. Avatar theamateurfinancier says:

    A nice list of some suggestions I’m sure most mothers will appreciate.  I just wish I lived closer to my own mother, so I could take advantage of some of these suggestions.

  3. Thanks for sharing this article with your readers, Phil! I hope you and your family had a great Mother’s Day!

    We celebrated Mother’s Day by going to church, taking a long hike through the nature reserve by our home, then topped it off with a homemade dinner and a banana split. It was a great day! 🙂

  4. Avatar The Financial Blogger says:

    Thx for the mention!

    I love your ideas for Mother’s day too!

  5. Avatar Christine | Money Funk says:

    All fabulous ideas! I especially like #1 – a picnic sounds so fun. And I wouldn’t mind a movie night with my husband or a scrumpcious home cooked meal by the family (with a clean house, laundry done, and children’s room spotless). Is that asking too much? 😉

Comments are closed.